Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Myers 2, Sullivan 0.

Andrew Sullivan on the Michigan militia that had 9 members arrested for sedition:

Surely we can all assent to the notion that a Christian militia of the type now accused of planning domestic terrorism is not Christian.

PZ Myers, on Andrew Sullivan:

I'm afraid the Hutarees were Christian, real-live testifyin' preachifyin' Jebus-lovin' Bible-readin' Christians. They weren't Andrew Sullivan's preferred version of Christian, but then, a weird gay Catholic has about as much authority to define who gets to be Christian as an obnoxious and flamingly anti-religious atheist.

Then Andrew scores an own goal:

Well I defer to PZ on the spectrum of weirdness, but he ignores my central distinction between Christianity and Christianism.

Christianity flees power as Jesus did; Christianism seeks it above everything else.

Except, of course, that even a casual reading of history makes clear that the Church has not renounced worldly power, but has in fact reveled in it. Andrew's idea that "true" Christianity eschews temporal power is very much a post-Enlightenment idea. Which, clocking in at about 300 years old or so, makes it a relatively new feature in the history of Christianity. One that is by no means settled among those calling themselves Christian, by the way.

If he'd said he didn't like their theology, thought they were wrong, were out of step with the majority of American Christians (or Christians worldwide), that's one thing. But simply defining something he disagrees with and intensely dislikes (for good reason) as outside of "true" Christianity is... well, rather remarkable.

Addendum: Unless, of course, he declares the Church he loves so much to also be outside of "true" Christianity. Which I doubt is going to happen anytime soon.